As a result of our upbringing and life experiences, we all have an internal working model about love, our self-worth, and how the world operates that can sometimes get in the way of our optimal love and relationships. Traditional couples therapy can take time to unravel the intricate details of what’s impacting our love, connection, and sexual functioning. It can take time to break through the tough exterior of protection and walls to get to the soft, vulnerable parts of us seeking to feel safe, be seen, and be supported by a loved one. Ketamine, the dissociative anaesthetic renowned for its various uses in the medical field, has found its way into relationship therapy, offering a new way for couples to explore deeper emotional intimacy, communication, and empathy to support a quicker, more efficient way of healing the wounds that inhibit.
The Ketamine Magic: Lower Doses vs. Higher Doses
Ketamine has many unique properties depending upon the dose administration. At lower doses, ketamine is a lubricant for communication, softening the barriers that sometimes hinder expressing vulnerability and openness. It gently lets you let go of defences and embrace the receptivity of your partner's perspective, reducing the threat that opposing viewpoints may pose.
At higher doses, ketamine reveals its mystical analgesic properties. As the body relaxes, anxiety and depression seem to dissipate, allowing clarity of thought and emotional exploration. It's like floating on a cloud of understanding, free from the weight of emotional pain. Many of my clients report having spiritual experiences or conversations with parts of themselves, their inner child, or even archetypal figures that give them support and insight.
Ketamine as an Empathogen: Unveiling the Power of Connection
Ketamine in a therapeutic environment is often described as an Empathogen, which connects us to our empathy for ourselves and others. This substance fosters vulnerability, creating an intimate feeling of belonging and compassion for yourself and your partner. Awe, gratitude, and profound connection become your companions on this journey to healing.
As a result, conversations around intimacy and sexuality find a haven. Couples can explore their deepest desires, confront their fears, and share their needs and fantasies with newfound ease. Ketamine's embrace opens doors to intimate dialogues that might have been too vulnerable to approach.
In the Session Space: Individual Journeys and Shared Presence
Depending on your shared goals identified with your therapist, you can have a shared experience or an individual experience side by side for your profound exploration. When both individuals interact in a session, they can more easily hold space and presence for the other person's perspectives. Often, I focus on one individual while the other partner is witnessing the unveiling of the vulnerable aspects of their partner and seeing that softness forming as insight and understanding bubbles up.
For sessions in which both partners are lying side by side on their own experience, I use the later part of the session to come back together so they may begin the revelation + integration process while still in the softening effects of the ketamine. Integration sessions reveal more about what each individual was experiencing and discover ways to support each other moving forward.
Sensual Practices and Music
I have found in the work that I do surrounding sex therapy that ketamine provides us with unique access to complex concepts around sex and pleasure through sensually focused practices. Somatic experiences, breathwork, and sensate-focused practices support a couple (and individuals) with connecting with their joy that perhaps was not accessible before. This can create reference points for individuals to return to and integrate into their daily lives and intimacy. Music becomes like a second therapist in this sacred space in these sessions, guiding you both on an emotional journey.
Integration: Reflections, Conversations, and Rituals
As your ketamine-assisted therapy journey draws close, integration becomes a critical part of the process. Each person takes time for personal reflection, extracting insights and meaning-making from the experience. Both are guided to engage in heartfelt conversations, embracing the wisdom gained. Together with myself or your therapist, we establish rituals that support continued growth in your relationship.
Experience the Depths
Now that you've seen how ketamine-assisted couples therapy works, why not explore this with your partner? Please schedule a free ketamine-assisted therapy consultation with Dr. Cat in Los Angeles or join the waitlist for one of our upcoming couples ketamine retreats to discover the depths of connection, intimacy, and empathy here.